But Tim strengthened himself in the Lord

Yesterday was a depressing day. I had hoped to spend about 5 hours spread throughout the day working on one assignment, a report into “the architectures of humanoid robot systems”. I didn’t spend all that time working, but I did use most of it. By the time I went to bed, however, I hadn’t made any significant progress towards writing the report. I was already behind my schedule for work on that assignment, and the situation certainly wasn’t improved by a few hours of apparently finding nothing useful in my research. My feelings were quite nicely summed up by what a friend posted on facebook that evening (albeit for very different reasons to me):

“I didn’t get anywhere near the amount of work done I wanted to do today and I really can’t be bothered to do anymore now!”

It felt so unjust that I should spend to much time working, yet produce no useful output. That single assignment has frustrated me incredibly, and it is set by a lecturer who set a piece of work last year that I was forced to accept a mark of zero for because I was completely unable to do it. I felt miserable and didn’t know where to turn for help.

This morning in my daily Bible reading I came across 1 Samuel 30:6. David, not yet king of Israel, had been away from home fighting and returned home to discover the whole town had been burnt down, and all the women and children had been taken captive. As his troops rounded on him and threatened to stone him, we read

“David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.”

Is this not an immense privilege that Christians have? Regardless of circumstances, we have a God who is the almighty Lord of everything! We come to Him united with Christ and can be sure He will never turn us away. An email I was sent within the last week contained Psalm 55:22, which reads

“Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you;  He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Once again I have the privilege of testifying this to be true, as the Lord did graciously strengthen me to renew my fellowship with Him. Why did I worry about my work? The Lord has control of all things, and I am His child.

Psalm 90

Today I had a spare 40 minutes between meetings, so I used it to look at Psalm 90. I noticed three points of particular interest:

  • God is eternal. If you read Psalm 90, then you’ll see that’s a pretty obvious conclusion, but the verse which I noticed it in particularly was v2.  It says “Before the mountains were brought forth… You are God”. Shouldn’t that be “You were God”? Isn’t the tense wrong? There is another passage in the Bible with this mix of tenses. John 8:58 records Jesus saying “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” As Jesus was talking to Jews at the time, it seems likely to me that this was deliberate reference to Exodus 3:14 in which Moses is told by God to say he is sent by “I AM”. (It is interesting to note that God can only be defined in terms of Himself (“I AM WHO I AM”), but that’s not my point here! Also of interest is that Psalm 90 was written by Moses.) God is eternal and unchanging, and the past and the present are no different for Him. God before Creation is the same as God now is the same as God in the future of eternity. God is so unchanged that it doesn’t even matter which tense we describe His past with, as in it He is the same as in His present and future!
  • God controls our end. Most people would struggle to deny the blindingly obvious statistic that everyone who is born dies. (Don’t mention Elijah or Enoch. Just don’t.) We often think of death as being natural, but the Bible speaks of it as an enemy. In v6 of Psalm 90 we see man being compared to grass, which grows and dies quickly. The verse says “it is cut down and withers”. It was an interesting reminder that we don’t ‘just die’. God cuts us down. God is in control of the timing and method of our deaths, and we are foolish if we forget this.
  • The route to wisdom. v12 tells us we gain wisdom if we learn to “number our days”. Remembering our frailty (and by implication, remembering God’s eternality) keeps us humble and gives us a perspective of seeing things in the way God views them. Surely this is wisdom. Of course, one could conclude that because we are so small and God is so great we are worthless in His sight, but this would be incorrect. I can’t fault the logic of it, but God’s grace is beyond my understanding and certainly defies everything I think of as logical, and it is by His grace that we are loved and (if we trust Jesus) accepted by Him. Praise the Lord!